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Iranian go to and fro climber who competed lacking hijab returns home

Iranian go to with every one other accompanied by fro climber who competed lacking hijab returns home

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) ” Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi returned to Tehran early Wednesday following competing inside South Korea lacking wearing a headscarf, an lay clasp of deed widely seen while support for anti-government demonstrators amid weeks of protests over the Islamic Republic™s mandatory hijab.

After landing, Rekabi gave a careful, emotionless gathering to Iran™s hard-line condition television, saying that going lacking a hijab had been an unintentional lay clasp of deed on her part. However, hundreds gathered outer external outside Imam Khomeini International Airport ” including women not wearing the hijab ” accompanied by every one one other accompanied by cheered for Elnaz the Champion, casting Rekabi while an inspiration for their continued protests.

The future Rekabi faces following returning place of residence remains unclear. Supporters accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Farsi-language media outer external outside of Iran have worried concerning Rekabi™s safety following her return, mostly while activists speak the demonstrations have seen safety forces arrest thousands so far.

The differing reception for Rekabi shows the growing fissures inside Iranian society while nationwide protests sparked by the Sept. 16 demise of a 22-year-old woman are inside their fifth week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the country™s morality police over her clothing ” accompanied by every one one other accompanied by her demise has prompted women to remove their hijabs inside public.

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  • The demonstrations, sketch school-age children, lubricant workers accompanied by every one one other accompanied by others to the streets inside over 100 cities, symbolize the most-serious exist courageous sufficient to Iran™s theocracy since the pile protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.

    That Rekabi, 33, competed lacking her hijab inside Seoul all over the finals of the International Federation of Sport Climbing™s Asia Championship prompted her immediate embrace by those supporting the demonstrations that increasingly include calls for the overthrow of the country™s theocracy.

    But sports inside Iran, from soccer leagues to Rekabi™s competitive climbing, inside general operate under a series of semi-governmental organizations. Women athletes competing at place of residence or abroad, whether playing volleyball or running track, are expected to retain their hair covered while a sign of piety. Iran, while well while Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, build such head coverings mandatory for women.

    That made Rekabi™s condition appearance on Sunday lacking one a lightning-rod moment. On landing at Imam Khomeini International Airport early Wednesday, she wore a black baseball lid accompanied by every one one other accompanied by a black hoodie covering her hair. A male handed her flowers.

    At first, Rekabi repeated an clarification posted earlier to an Instagram description inside her name, saying her not wearing the hijab was unintentional. The Iranian management routinely pressures activists at place of residence accompanied by every one one other accompanied by abroad, often airing what rights category report while coerced confessions on condition television ” the same cameras she addressed on her coming spine home.

    Rekabi said she was inside a women-only waiting area earlier to her climb.

    Because I was occupied putting on my shoes accompanied by every one one other accompanied by my gear, it caused me to fail to remember to place on my hijab accompanied by every one one other accompanied by at that hour dated I went to compete, she said.

    She added: I came spine to Iran accompanied by tranquillity of cerebrum although I had a a large amount of tension accompanied by every one one other accompanied by stress. But so far, convey gratitude to God, nothing has happened.

    The somber scene at that hour dated gave way to one of a jubilant crowd outer external outside the terminal. Videos online, corresponding to known features of the airport, show those gathered chanting Rekabi™s name accompanied by every one one other accompanied by calling her a hero. Footage showed her waving from inside a van.

    The semiofficial ISNA report agency subsequent reported that she met accompanied by Sports Minister Hamid Sajjadi, saying he encouraged her to convey on accompanied by competing.

    Rekabi left-hand Seoul on a Tuesday earlier to noon flight. The BBC™s Persian service, which has large contacts within Iran inside malice of actuality banned from operating there, quoted an unnamed informed leap while saying Iranian officials seized both Rekabi™s mobile phone accompanied by every one one other accompanied by passport. BBC Persian excessively said she at earliest had been scheduled to return on Wednesday, nevertheless her flying apparently had been moved up unexpectedly.

    IranWire, another website focusing on the country founded by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who on one instance was detained by Iran, suggested that Rekabi could unswerving away exist taken to Tehran™s notorious Evin Prison, where dissidents are held. A massive blaze there over the weekend killed at least eight prisoners.

    Later on Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee said it held a fasten gathering accompanied by the International Federation of Sport Climbing accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Iranian officials. The IOC said it received understandable assurances that Ms Rekabi will not exist sore some consequences accompanied by every one one other accompanied by will convey on accompanied by to train accompanied by every one one other accompanied by compete. However, other athletes have faced harassment amid the demonstrations.

    The IOC described Rekabi while actuality accompanied by her family accompanied by every one one other accompanied by said she joined a call accompanied by officials.

    The Iranian Embassy inside Seoul had denied all the fake, incorrect report accompanied by every one one other accompanied by disinformation concerning Rekabi™s departure. But while an different of posting a photo of her from the Seoul competition, it posted an likeness of her wearing a headscarf at a foregoing competition inside Moscow, where she took a bronze medal.

    Rekabi wore a hijab all over her initial appearances at the one-week climbing event inside Seoul. She wore fair a black headband when competing Sunday, her black hair pulled spine inside a ponytail; she had a white jersey accompanied by Iran™s banner while a logo on it.

    Footage of the competition showed Rekabi relaxed while she approached the climbing accompanied by every one one other accompanied by following she competed.

    On Wednesday, a small category of protesters demonstrated inside front of Iran™s Embassy inside Seoul, accompanied by some women cutting off locks of their hair, exist fond of others have inside demonstrations worldwide since Amini™s death.

    So far, anthropoid rights groups violently calculate that over 200 people have been killed inside the weekslong protests accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the brutal safety ability crackdown that followed. Iran has not offered a demise toll inside weeks. Demonstrations have been seen inside over 100 cities, according to the category Human Rights Activists inside Iran. Thousands are believed to have been arrested.

    Gathering details concerning the demonstrations remains difficult, however. Internet access has been disrupted for weeks by the Iranian government. Meanwhile, authorities have detained at least 40 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have repeatedly alleged the country™s overseas enemies are behind the ongoing demonstrations, by preference than Iranians angered by Amini™s demise accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the country™s other woes.

    Iranians have seen their actuality savings evaporate; the country™s currency, the rial, plummeted accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Tehran™s nuclear deal accompanied by world powers has been reduced to tatters.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Ahn Young-joon inside Seoul, South Korea, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Graham Dunbar inside Geneva contributed to this report.

    ___

    Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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